[linux-elitists] Update--distribution for your mother?

K.R. Foley kr@cybsft.com
Sun Aug 17 11:55:47 PDT 2003

Adam Kessel wrote:
> Here's a discussion that's happened here before, but things change
> quickly, so I thought I would solicit input to see if there's any newer
> wisdom up there.
> I'm going this week to install Linux for my mother.  Actually,
> technically it's for my father, but everyone has a story about
> "installing Linux for their mother" and how esay it was once it was set
> up for them.  
> I've only ever used Debian and have probably Debianized dozens of friends
> and family thus far.  I'm a little concerned, though, about all the
> 'unstable' systems I'm leaving in my wake.  The stable packages for the
> desktop are getting too ancient.  While I know there are backports of
> crucial software (Mozilla 1.x (x>0), OpenOffice), I find myself
> inevitably having to pull more and more things out of unstable until
> finally it's just easier to upgrade everything.  The problem is, of
> course, that these systems are not as stable and reliable as I'd like
> people to think GNU/Linux is, and also my non-tech-savvy friends/family
> don't upgrade and ultimately end up booting into the MS partition when
> things don't work.  
> I recently downloaded Red Hat 9 and Mandrake 9.1 and did fresh installs
> of each to see if either would be better for "your mother's computer."
> Both of the installations were quite easy, and I tried playing around
> with them for a while but couldn't really figure out what the differences
> would be in useability over the long haul.  
> Google reveals little in the way of a real hands-on comparison--most of
> the reviews comment on how nice the opening screen looks when you boot
> up, etc.. (one review said Mandrake's ability to choose "which security
> level you want" was great and wasn't something you found in most
> distributions...)! I'm looking for advice from someone with extensive
> real world experience on more than one distribution helping non-technical
> desktop users.  
> So what would you recommend for your mother's computer?  An additional
> factor in that they have no broadband access, and also decent but not
> cutting edge hardware.

I have used most of the mainstream distributions at one time or another 
and have even tried some more windoze-like distros such as Lycoris. I 
currently use SuSE, Red Hat and Slackware on my systems. More recently I 
would have to choose SuSE (8.1 or 8.2) for ease of installation and 
maintenance simply because of YaST2.

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